To the editor,
I am voting for Gerry Smith for first selectman in Beacon Falls because he promises to prioritize the needs of the community, attacking those most pressing with quick action; he will simultaneously craft and implement a thoughtful, long-term plan to address the less urgent, yet valid, hopes and dreams of the citizens of Beacon Falls.
As a 25-year resident of Beacon Falls, I admit that I have often rued the fact that the town lacks a true library. But the opportunity to remedy this was during the years of a soaring economy, not now. It is pure folly to commit ourselves and future generations to untold debt and ongoing staff and maintenance obligations. I can easily count a dozen Beacon Falls families within our own circle of friends and neighbors that, in the past few years, have been so adversely impacted by the economy that their living arrangements have shifted; foreclosures and eviction notices are a common result of the pink slips from major Valley employers and the dearth of paying customers experienced by so many of our businesses. It seems that each week brings new “for sale” signs in front yards; work vans are no longer needed and are being stripped of their company logos, the owners forced to try to sell them to make ends meet.
On the state and federal level, tax cuts are expiring and new taxes have been added.
Beacon Falls, as part of Region 16, is locked into ongoing tax increases over which we have little to no control. Our town is in dire need of road repairs and critical infrastructure maintenance is long-overdue.
My family lives in Beacon Falls because we value the simple, small town experience it affords. I would love for my children to settle here if they so chose, but I’m afraid that, as in so many quaint towns in Connecticut, they will be priced out of it by well-meaning but short-sighted “improvements.” After all, what is the use of a state of the art, multi-million dollar community center if there is no one left to enjoy (much less pay for) it?
So, in the race for first selectman and selectman, my vote goes to the Smith-Damico team.
to bf_resident, let’s address your post in the parts the speak to. First do I think $400K is worth the renovation cost – the short answer is yes and here is why. When the town bought the property it was purchased on bond, mechanically a bond functions as a loan so there is interest. So as taxpayers we have to pay the bond in full, plus the interest in fixed installments to end at such and such a time. Therefore we will have paid more than the property was worth at time of purchase, that is fine should the house be used after all that is the way mortgages work – why should the town be any different? Next if the goal was just to get land then why negotiate such a high purchase price? Yes times were better in 2008 but an acre is still cheaper than a developed property. So knock the house down and pay through the nose for dirt? That makes no sense! I never saw sub-division discussed yet that is an option (good, bad or indifferent). When I talked to my contractor clients they average out new construction to be around $120. When I do the math to replace the footprint of the house at 3000 Sq feet I get $360000. So the long answer is still yes.
The next part as to what Gerry Smith will do with the property. I don’t have the powers of prognostication. I can assume his plans would be to use the house moving forward or as you infer a sell. I agree that a sell in today’s market would be a loss and it would not eliminate the bond we are the hook for. Should a favorable sell come along I would urge a no demo clause in the contract, but that is just me.
Lastly, speaking to the needs of the BFHS, your right we are a 501(c)3, just like Park Pals or Project Purple. The library commission was nice enough to include us in the discussion in their planning thus far. However as of right now we have nothing for space and we function. Even if we took space offered on the property, the town could take it back at any time (or at least when an agreement was up). And we be left on the lurch. There are plenty of properties around town and if I could print money they would all be gems, then again if I could print money we wouldn’t be having this dialog. Make no mistake age and history are two very different things. If you are interested in helping preserve then I invite you to join the BFHS. The old school house property I believe was bought by Dr Dey. The house is very rickety as it is and although I believe it can be moved there is hesitation to go in that direction, more important than how is where? If I could wave a magic wand then I would see it placed on the Laurel Ledge property by the ball fields, there is an immense amount of space back there. Security against vandalism is an issue as well. As far as the rest of our BFHS plans, I can tell you this. We are aggressively looking at our own grant opportunities, other means of fund raising, community support with local trade- craftsmen, cooperation with EDC. Between now and this time next year several projects will be released in the wild and we are very excited about them. So we have plans.
BCatanzaro, does it make “financial sense” to spend over $400,000 more to renovate the building to save it than it does to take it down?
What do you think Mr. Smith plans to do with the property? Probably SELL it and then a developer will come in and knock it down to build TWO houses on the lot to recoup his costs. I know I would if I were a contractor.
Once it is sold, even if it isn’t knocked down, you will not be able to use the house as a historical society building. Historical Societies OWN their own properties and do not rely on Town Funds to subsidize their projects. The Historical Society should focus on saving the school house or even those houses that have been here in Beacon Falls for a lot longer. What is the historical society’s plan?
Ralpie you are just mad because only your mom fell for the story about an icicle falling and breaking your glasses and not the rest of us. Cheer up, Christmas isn’t too far away and when you sit on Santa’s lap this year maybe you’ll get a sense of servility instead of a football.
Instead of complaining of everything you are opposed to how about you pick up a cause, join a group, throw your hat in the ring to make a difference. You have been up and down these message boards with never a word of support… for anything – everyone you don’t like is wrong, everything not done to your satisfaction is wrong. You have the answers? you have a plan? any direction? Old fashion gumption? You seem to blindly follow anyone who is opposed to the same people you are opposed to. I hope you are happy living in you little lemming life and when your candidate falls off the cliff enjoy the view before you hit bottom – there’s a river walk there too.
Now freeze, catch your breath because I sense you are about to spew some hatred my way – that’s OK I’m a big boy, I can take it, just know this about me so you can shape your retort properly. From the time I registered to vote until two months ago (I formally switched parties) I was a full supporter of the Dems. I lived in this town all my life and March marks 37 years. I know Sue Cable – I work with her on occasion privately, I call her a friend. I disagree with her vision (as orchestrated by the Dems) for the town. I am a business owner. I am member of the Lion’s, the BFMA, the BFHS, and St. Michael’s. Getting back to the Dems and the DTC I know a number of the members, their families, and I too call them friends. I still disagree with their vision. You have no problem with the letters they write and sure enough they are “political statements”.
I know Sue Dowdell (listed above me), albeit not as well as I know the others. She is right in that the town has outgrown it’s current library space and planning is necessary however when the plans call for the destruction of a town asset that was bonded and therefore is accruing interest that you, me and everyone in town is on the hook for with our taxes. Then that make zero financial sense and I am against that kind of planning.
Gerry, David and their ticket promise to be responsible and I don’t care who states that – responsibility is what BF needs because we haven’t been as of late.
Although it was a nicely written lettern one thing is missing. And its a big thing. Miss Comninel in her raving letter of Gerry Smith failed to mention that she is married to him.This letter is nothing more then then a political statement put out by the Smith campaign.
Dear Anne, I understand the fiscal realities of today and know that our dream of a true library may not be possible in the near future, but must your husband and his political party deny us the right to plan for a time when tbe economy is better? We need time to fully develop a viable plan, one that can be used to find outside funding through grants as well. Shutting down the planning process will put us even further behind. I encourage the Republicans to reconsider their stance against library improvement. The message from them has been plan, plan, plan. Why are they now saying planning is not necessary?